Outbreak in African lions of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis infection, with aberrant bacterial morphology
Womble, M., Cabot, M. L., Harrison, T., & Watanabe, T. T. N. (2022, January 17). JOURNAL OF VETERINARY DIAGNOSTIC INVESTIGATION.
A concurrent outbreak of infection with Yersinia pseudotuberculosis occurred in adult captive African lions ( Panthera leo). Two 17-y-old male lions and one 14-y-old female lion developed respiratory distress, lethargy, ataxia, and hyporexia. Within 3–5 d of the onset of clinical signs, one male and the female lion died and were submitted for postmortem examination. Macroscopically, the liver and spleen had multifocal-to-coalescing, semi-firm, pale-tan nodules throughout the parenchyma. The lungs were non-collapsed and marked by petechiae. Histologic examination identified lytic, necrosuppurative foci in the liver, spleen, lungs, and kidney, with abundant intralesional gram-negative coccobacilli in the male lion. Similar findings were seen in the female lion in the liver, spleen, kidney, and mesenteric lymph node; however, the intralesional bacterial colonies were more pleomorphic, comprising rod and filamentous morphologies. Aerobic bacterial culture of the liver, spleen, and lung revealed Y. pseudotuberculosis growth. The source of infection is unknown, and an epidemiologic study was performed. Sources to be considered are from the predation of rodent and/or bird reservoirs, or contaminated soil or water. Mortality associated with Y. pseudotuberculosis has been described in an African lion cub, however, to our knowledge, Y. pseudotuberculosis has not been reported in adult African lions, and this is only the second report of Y. pseudotuberculosis with aberrant bacterial morphology observed histologically.